Missouri Makes It Easier for First Responders to Obtain Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19
COVID-19 has shaken up our lives in untold ways, and the State of Missouri has taken some proactive steps to help address one important issue. The Governor and the state’s Labor Department Director, during a daily briefing in early April, shared that changes in state regulations had been enacted that make first responders who contract COVID-19 eligible for workers’ compensation. If you’ve been injured on the job – or have a work-related illness – you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side.
In the State of Missouri, an occupational disease refers to an illness or to a health condition that is caused by some kind of exposure in the workplace. For such a condition to be covered by workers’ compensation, the employee must be able to establish that the illness and the resulting work-related disability were predicated by the job itself. Examples include:
- Factory workers who can show that the repetitive motion inherent to the precise tasks that they perform repeatedly on the job left them with carpal tunnel syndrome – or with another condition related to repetitive motion.
- Employees who can demonstrate a connection between the constant industrial noise they are subjected to in the workplace and a hearing loss.
- Employees who are exposed to radiation in one form or another and who can show its relation to an acquired radiation disability.
In the case of COVID-19, it would be almost impossible for a first responder to prove that he or she contracted the virus on the job, but the highly specific nature of the pandemic has prompted the state to forego this requirement.
The State’s Announcement
During the announcement, the state revealed that the policy change would go into effect in 10 days, but that it was retroactive to the beginning of the pandemic’s outbreak. The idea is to help first responders continue with their life-saving efforts without the additional burden of worrying about what they’ll do if COVID-19 precludes them from returning to work. Further, the state announced that all unemployment checks (across the board) would be enhanced – again retroactively – to include an additional $600 per week (funded by federal stimulus legislation). Finally, the announcement confirmed that Missouri had taken on more unemployment claims in the first several weeks of the pandemic than it had in all of 2019.
Work Closely with an Experienced Missouri Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The State of Missouri has taken unprecedented action in the face of an unprecedented situation. If you are a first responder who is suffering from COVID-19, you won’t be required to prove that you contracted the illness as a direct result of your job – which would likely be next to impossible to do.Whatever your workers’ compensation concern, however, the dedicated and experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Morrison, Webster & Carlton – proudly serving both Springfield and Joplin – are committed to building your strongest claim in support of compensation that covers your full range of losses. We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 417-890-4600 (Springfield) or 417-781-5690 (Joplin) for more information today.